Common Eye Injuries and How to Treat Them

An injury to the eye can be pretty daunting. After all, vision is important, and you only have one pair of eyes. Some injuries are caused by everyday activities, like shampoo getting in the eyes, and are considered minor, while some injuries, like taking a speeding hockey puck to the eye, can be far more dangerous. Eye injuries are fairly common, and knowing what to do for an eye injury can help save your vision and heal your eyes.

Injury: Foreign object in the eye

This occurs when any foreign object, from wood to plastic to metal, enters the eye and becomes trapped.

How to Treat:

Do not attempt to remove the foreign object from the eye, as that could cause even further damage. Also, do not rub the eye. If the substance contains iron, it can rust in the eye and cause additional damage that needs to be treated. Loosely cover the eye and seek medical attention right away.

Injury: Corneal abrasion (scratched eye)

Getting scratched in the eye, poked in the eye, or rubbing debris, like sand, in the eyes can all cause scratches or cuts to the cornea, or surface of the eye.

How to Treat:

Don’t rub the eye or flush it with water. Since infection is an important concern, don’t wear an eye patch, as dark, wet places can encourage bacterial growth. Instead, protect the eye using a paper cup taped to the facial bones surrounding they eye. See your eye doctor as soon as possible.

Injury: Subconjunctival hemorrhage (bleeding of the eye)

Any eye injury can cause bleeding in the tiny conjunctival blood vessels, located over the white part of the eye, known as the sclera. Bleeding can be concentrated or widespread.

How to Treat:

Although this injury looks bad, it doesn’t require treatment. The blood will dissipate and the eye will return back to its normal, white color after some time. If the subconjunctival hemorrhage occurred as part of a trauma to the eye, consult your eye doctor to make sure that there aren’t any other underlying conditions.

Injury: Chemical burns or exposures

This type of injury can occur when anything but good old water gets into the eye through splashing, spraying or rubbing.

How to Treat:

Before a chemical burn can be treated, it is important to know what kind of substance got into the eye:

  • Acid: such as vinegar, drain cleaner or even citrus juices
  • Alkali: such as bleach or ammonia

Acidic substances are very irritating, but can usually be easily flushed from the eye with water. Alkaline substances are not as irritating, but are more difficult to clean out and can cause more serious damage than acids. In any case, place your eye under a lukewarm running tap for about 15 minutes. Then, call your eye doctor or local hospital and report your injury, including the exact substance and how you’ve treated your eye thus far, for further instructions.

Injury: Orbital blowout fracture or hyphema

These injuries are caused by blunt trauma to the eye and often occur together. An orbital blowout fracture is a break in a facial bone surrounding the eye, while a hyphema is bleeding in the anterior (front) chamber of the eye in between the cornea and iris.

How to Treat:

Do not apply any pressure to the eye. Seek medical attention immediately.

Injury: Eye swelling

“Black eyes,” or swollen, puffy eyelids, can result from being struck in the eye

How to Treat:

This injury is treated very simply: an ice pack on the eye to reduce swelling. Call your eye doctor to make sure that there is no additional damage to the eye.

Injury: Ultraviolet keratitis

This is essentially a sunburn of the eye and is caused by UV rays.

How to Treat:

This condition should not last for more than 24 hours. If it persists, contact your eye doctor for evaluation and treatment.

Have an Expert Eye Doctor that You Can Trust

With any eye injury, it’s a good idea to contact your eye doctor for consultation or care. Having a doctor that you can trust can help you rest easy that your eyes are in good hands. Drs. R.K. and Faris Ghosheh have over 30 years of experience in treating all types of eye problems. Contact their office today to get the best eye doctors in Southern California on your side in case of eye injury.